In France, rosé is more than just a style of wine: it’s a way of life. Whether enjoyed overlooking the Riviera or in a tiny neighbourhood bistro, rosé is a staple of the enjoyment of food. And, man, do French winemakers know how to make a bottle blush. From an ethereal Provençal to a meaty Tavel, here are three excellent reasons to drink pink as fresh spring days develop into warm early-summer nights.
L’Ostal Cazes Rosé 2015
“Ostal” means “house” in the ancient Occitan language, and the price-to-quality ratio of this terrific wine makes it a slam-dunk for house rosé this spring. Using equal parts Grenache and Syrah grown in the Pays d’Oc region in south-central France, the grapes are pressed immediately at low temperatures for a barely-there blush. Starting off with a delicate nose of strawberries and flowers, it’s a dry, savoury wine with tart rhubarb flavours, a creamy texture and a hint of soft herbs on the finish. Sip on its own as an aperitif, or enjoy with a pre-dinner charcuterie platter.
Domaine Maby La Forcadière Tavel Rosé 2015
Tavel is an Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC) in the southern Rhône that basically means “Land of Big Pink”. This bruiser by Domaine Maby is made from a five-grape, Grenache-dominated blend grown on vines averaging 46-years-old. The colour is more red than pink, and the nose is a fruity mélange of red currants and candy apples. Peppery, full-bodied and intensely flavourful, it’s perfect for red wine drinkers who stick their nose up at rosé. Don’t over-chill, and serve in big glasses with planked salmon, roast duck or grilled lamb.
Saint Aix Rosé 2015
The vineyard for this delightful rosé is 420 metres above sea level in the Coteaux d’Aix en Provence, where the sun shines 300 days a year and the Mistral winds cool the vines. (Eighty-four percent of the wine produced in this region is rosé.) A haunting bouquet of apricot, raspberries and white flowers get things off on the right foot. On the palate, expect an elegant, bone-dry wine with an almost salty finish. It’s a little pricy by rosé standards, but worth every penny. Open with lighter fare such as salad Niçoise, cold shrimp or prosciutto-wrapped melon.